This is a big announcement for Electroneum.
See bottom of this article for the full details of the blockchain tech update.
Some of our community have been worried about our blockchain tech, especially regarding ASIC miners and blockchain flooding. We will cover these below along with the announcement of some exciting major changes to the way our blockchain runs.
ETN Blockchain Update May 30th
Monero (who we based our blockchain code on) perform an update approximately every 6 months, and this is a great practice, as it allows them to keep their technology moving forward and introduce new features. We will be following this model and our first major update (also known as a fork) is scheduled to take place at block 307500 which is approximately 10.30am BST on May 30th.
Don’t panic! – Forking explained
It’s important for everyone to understand that whilst this is known as a fork, it is very different to Bitcoin forking to bitcoin cash or bitcoin gold. The fork will not result in two currencies, as all the exchanges and pools will update their software in advance of the update block and Electroneum will continue with an updated blockchain.
Time to test and implement
The end of May gives our community plenty of time to test and comment on the code changes that we will post on GitHub by Friday 5th of May. It also gives plenty of time for every node owner to update their Electroneum nodes, ready for the update block.
Electroneum divergence from Monero
We’ve always planned to move the Electroneum blockchain further towards reaching our goals, which in turn will move us away from Monero’s goals. We chose Monero because they’d written an awesome dynamic blocksize algorithm, but they also have some features that are not critical to Electroneum’s future. In this Electroneum update we’ve started to diverge away from some core Monero functionality. As we move towards a lean, fast blockchain to handle vast numbers of micropayments we need to lose some of the overhead that comes with the privacy of Monero. We are still going to be far more private than Bitcoin or Ethereum (for instance you won’t be able to look at someone else’s wallet balance), but by decreasing some of the privacy features we can fit significantly more transactions into a block, which is critical for our next stage of growth as our corporate partners start to bring on user numbers, and our vendor program starts delivering instant cryptocurrency acceptance into online and physical shops and stores. In short Monero is the best privacy coin in the world, where we need to be the best micropayment system in the world.
ETN Blockchain Tech Update (Details)
1. Anti- ASIC. An ASIC is a computer chip that has been made for a specific task. In this instance the task is to mine the CryptoNight algorithm that Electroneum uses. We are implementing Anti-ASIC code to ensure we have maximum resistance to any network attack that could occur in the future. Limiting mining to GPU’s reduces the chances of a single entity possessing enough hashing power to attempt a 51% network attack. It’s important to note that there is no proof of a 51% network attack having taken place on the Electroneum blockchain.
2. Transfer Fee Increase. There have been a lot of comments about our transfer fee being too low. It is important to our project that the fee remains low, because we are going to be focusing on instant payments and instant micropayments in the real world, and we need fees that are lower than typical debit / credit card fees. However, we have suffered from blockchain flooding so are taking steps to ensure we are resistant to this in the future. We have therefore decided to increase our base fee to 0.1 ETN. This is still a fraction of the cost of transfer of other cryptocurrencies, but still increases the difficulty of flooding by an order of magnitude. Combined with our other updates (below) this will give us more effective resistance to blockchain flooding.
3. Increase block size before penalty. We have been enormously successful and seen some periods with huge amounts of legitimate blockchain transaction traffic. This, combined with blockchain flooding, has meant periods of blockchain delays. By increasing the block size before penalty, miners will be able to scale the blocks faster and get more transactions into a block. This will handle regular transactions and flood transactions, making delays less likely. Combined with the Fee increase this is a significant resistance enhancement to flooding.
4. Disabling of RingCT & Mixin. RingCT was introduced by Monero whose main focus is privacy. Our main focus is bulk transactions for a mass audience, and thus we are disabling some of the privacy features of the blockchain. Disabling some privacy features means we can fit significantly more transactions into each block than with them enabled. This means less wait to get a transaction into a block and a leaner blockchain size. Wallets are still private as we will continue to use a new stealth wallet address for every blockchain transaction so there is still significantly more privacy than with Bitcoin or Ethereum, but considerably less privacy than with a privacy focused coin like Monero.
5. Mempool life to 3 days. During high transactional volumes it is feasible that a transaction can remain in the mempool for 24 hours and reach the current limit. This would mean the transaction is returned to the sender, but that could take up to 7 days. By increasing the mempool life to 3 days (and in conjunction with some of the additional changes) we are ensuring a significant reduction in the possibility of these returned transactions.
6. 2 minute blocks. Blocks are currently mined every minute. We are moving to two minute blocks which will significantly decrease the chance of an orphan block being created. Orphan blocks might contain transactions which will eventually (7 days) be returned or added to another block. Increasing the block time to 2 minutes has ramifications on the block reward which will be modified (see below).
7. Block Reward. We are doubling the block reward to ensure daily ETN block reward remains the same, despite the fact that we are releasing blocks at half the current speed. This means there will be no discernable effect to miners or pools.
8. Reduce difficulty window. Block difficulty window is being reduced. The block difficulty is calculated by looking at the last X blocks. It has come to our attention that by hitting the ETN blockchain with large powered rented hashing power gives the miner an advantage over a short period of time (until the difficulty algorithm catches up with the new hashing rate). We are reducing the difficulty window to reduce the benefit these periodic miners have and to discourage this practice, making the mining process fairer. This should have little or no effect on the difficulty number itself except during the exceptional circumstances described.
Thanks for taking the time to read this update! If you are running an Electroneum node remember to update before May 30th. If you are using a pool, ensure you let their telegram or other social channel know that this update is critical and must be applied before May 30th, in advance of block 307500.